The Essential Church
By Dean Honeycutt
Abortion Clinics Ok, Church is not!
I was a little upset, to say the least when churches were put on the back burner in the state of North Carolina. While church members were not being allowed to go back into their buildings people could still go to the abortion clinics and liquor stores. When the government regards sinful acts as essential and places of worship as non-essential, we have a serious problem.
Thank the Lord U.S. District Judge James Dever III issued a temporary restraining order against Governor Roy Cooper’s order on limiting the number of people who can attend a church service. I trust at the time you are reading this article we are still worshipping the Lord in our churches.
It Is Scriptural to Gather
I want to help you understand that for 2000 years believers have been gathering to worship the Lord. This idea that we can be the church, but not gather is unscriptural. We do not have to be in a building to worship, but we do need to gather as a body of believers. The Bible teaches us in Hebrews “not to forsake the assembling of ourselves together.” (Hb. 10:25) First Corinthians 12:27 teaches us “we are the body of Christ and members in particular.” In this context, we understand that this is talking about a local visible body of believers who worship together, baptize new believers, and share in the Lord’s table. Being able to have drive-in services and stream sermons were good and necessary alternative, but nothing can beat the personal fellowship of believers coming together for worship.
People Desire the Connection
After preaching a Facebook live message at Snow Hill on a Wednesday night with less than ten people in the audience I went down to my office to put something up. When I came back up, I saw a young lady at the altar praying. I did not know what was going on. I did not give an invitation. But the Holy Ghost had moved. So, my wife and I sat quietly in prayer. The young lady arose from the altar with tears streaming down her face saying I miss praying in the alter. At that time, we had not been in our sanctuary for eight weeks. I understood then more than ever how essential church is.
We are still a Blessed People
I can honestly say God has been good to us and blessed our little church. We have been patient and God has brought a lot of good out of this pandemic. What the devil has intended for evil God has turned it into good. I had a young woman sing so beautifully during a drive-in service who I had never heard sing. We had people stepping up and helping us with the outdoor sound system. And people setting up and taking down tents on the rainy days. We have had hundreds of people respond to our Facebook live services. I have felt the love of God and the love of God’s people. Many of my pastor friends have been a great encouragement to me. They have all done a fantastic job pastoring churches during this crisis. So, God has blessed us in many ways, for which we are most grateful.
Christians Worship at Their Own Risk
I want you to understand that Christians come to church at their own risk. For the first 300 years of Christianity attending a church service was dangerous. Many Christians were imprisoned, tortured, fed to lions, and killed for following the Lord Jesus Christ. Why would these early believers hazard their life for Jesus? Because they loved the Lord with all their heart, soul, and mind and they knew “to live is Christ and to die is gain.” They were willing to lay down their life for the sake of the Gospel.
God is in Control
I cannot promise you that if you go to church you will not get the coronavirus any more than I could promise you that you will never have a car wreck. But, I can tell you this if you do get the coronavirus God is in control and He does not let anything happen to you that He is not fully aware of and is able to handle. If the early disciples did not believe this, they would not have hazarded their lives for the sake of the Gospel. Would God require anything less of me or you?
We have had it too easy in America. And the coronavirus has been a real challenge for the New Testament church. I believe the Lord is seeing what we are made of and putting us to the test. More birth pains will come, and we need to be ready and continue to “press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” (Philp. 3:14)
I leave you with this Word. 2 Corinthians 4:8–11 (KJV 1900)
“8 We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; 9 Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; 10 Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. 11 For we which live are alway delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh.”
Blessings to your Family,
Pastor Dean Honeycutt
Pastor Dean Honeycutt shepherds Snow Hill Baptist Church in Bakersville, NC. He may be reached at 828-385-0213, firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit their website at www.snowhillbaptist.com. You can read more from Dean HERE.